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OSdata.com: development and APIs 


Development and APIs

    The Application Program Interface (API) has a major effect on the software available for an operating system.

    At an absolute minimum, an API provides access to basic operating system services. A high quality API includes access to a uniform, but flexible, feature set.


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    “It takes more than a graphical user interface to make a computer easy to use. … It requires… software developers to make the user experience more consistent.” — Christian Greenw31


    POSIX is a standardized set of APIs originally intended for UNIX, although many non-UNIX systems also support the POSIX APIs for cross-platform compatibility and ease of porting of applications.

OSs that are POSIX certified:

OSs that are POSIX compatible:

     “The OpenVMS operating system supports almost all of the UNIX compatible programming API. It also has its own special API. Most competent UNIX compatible OS programmers have no problems programming in the OpenVMS environment, regardless of what APIs that they use.” —John Malmberge85

     “OpenVMS has built into it integrity and diagnostics that allow a programmer to accurately find critical coding errors with out having to analyze memory dumps. This facility is available even when the debugging options are not built into a program. And yes, the memory dump feature is there if you really need it. The OpenVMS operating system will even allow me to find the module name of a program stuck in a compute bound loop, and dump the stack to find out who called it. When the instruction address is compared to a link map, often the exact line of code can be identified. Again this can be done with out the program being built with debugging on and with out the end user having access to the source. Occasionally I encounter a programmer that gets frustrated with OpenVMS integrity checking preventing them from doing something. On investigation I have never found it to be something that was allowed under their favorite operating system either. It seems that they were not used to the operating system fingering the exact line of code or program that caused the problem, or to the operating system isolating the problem to only affecting their program even when it was running with privileges enabled.” —John Malmberge85

graphic user interfaces

    The existence of API routines for these higher level services, especially those related to user interface elements, is important in providing a uniform user experience, which can greatly increase user productivity and greatly reduce training costs.

     “The Macintosh User Interface Toolbox provides a simple means of constructing application programs that conform to the standard Macintosh user interface. By offering a common set of routines that every application calls to implement the user interface, the Toolbox not only ensures familiarity and consistency for the user but also helps reduce the application’s code size and development time. At the same time, it allows a great deal of flexibility: An application can use its own code instead of a Toolbox call wherever appropriate, and can define its own types of windows, menus, controls, and desk accessories.” —Inside Macintosh, Volume I, page I-9b4b

OSs that include standardized graphic user interface API:

object oriented programming

    Some operating systems have object oriented programming APIs. The use of object oriented programming cuts development time 10-50% over traditional procedural programming and greatly increases the reliability (bug-freeness) of the software and makes the software far easier to maintain.

OSs that include object oriented programming API:

programming languages:

geek humor

    “If you want to do buzzword oriented programming you must use a strongly hyped language.” —Mike Johns

    “Programming is like sex: One mistake & you support it!” —Bill Garfield

    “The best book on programming for the layman is ‘Alice in Wonderland’, but that’s because it’s the best book on anything for the layman.”

    “Object-oriented programming is an exceptionally bad idea which could only have originated in California.” —Edsger Dijkstra

    “Programming is an art form that fights back.” —Tc Wilson

    “Nearly every electrical engineer believes deep in his heart that he is a better at writing computer programs than any computer programmer, and can show as proof the fact that he has written a number of small applications, each of which was done quickly, easily, and exactly met his needs.” —Jeff Dege

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    Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 Milo

    Last Updated: February 5, 2002

    Created: June 5, 1998

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